You may or may not remember my friend David Byron, aka DB. He was recently in England for a sailboat race and had the opportunity to do some power-eating and delicacy-adventuring in France. When he sent me this email on July 18 I begged him to let me post it for y'all on eggbeater. I hope you enjoy his descriptions and humor as much as I do.
Just getting back from a wonderful lunch at Le Clos De Sens. Sensory bliss. Let me see if I can remember all the courses. We started with a ball of pea soup on a spoon and then had a fancy de-constructed version of the local Savoie dish Tartiflette: two wafer thin pieces of potato with a piece of parsley in between, Onion ice cream that was even better than one might think, and Reblochon mousse in a fried cone. Then I continued with this menu.
The fish in celery, shiso and orange broth was my favorite savory dish. Hard to explain how yummy it was... or maybe it was just my sympathy for all the brunoise'd celery and orange rind that some poor soul put together. We also had a shot of "tomato water" that was unbelievably flavorful. A little carrot and garlic added to the tomato. Almost transparent, but packing a huge wallop of tomato.
Before I mention dessert, let me explain the setting... We sat outside in the shade of some large trees, overlooking Lake Annecy. A delightful place to spend a few hours. The restaurant has 20 tables and a maximum of 60 seats. Fifteen people do the prep in the kitchen with 9 people [cooks] working during service.
After a cheese course I'm not informed enough to describe properly came the primary dessert: a celebration of the strawberry. I should mention that one of the other guests at the table had fresh cheese instead of cheese from the cart and it was quite a sight. Fresh cheese covered with crème fraiche and raspberry sauce. Add some sugar on top and then don't call it dessert.
The strawberry celebration started with another ball of intense strawberry liquid. I have no idea how to make it or how they got it so powerfully strawberry-y. It was clear that things were getting good. The dish itself was a bruniose of strawberries macerated slightly and molded into a rectangle, covered with a graham-ish cracker/cookie (not as good as Shuna's, but close). On top little balls of strawberry mousse were divided by slices of dehydrated strawberry. On one side was a quenelle of delicious sorbet. On the other side was a macaron filled with strawberry jam. Holy crap this was good.
I managed to squeeze a taste of some super delicious fairly bitter chocolate ice cream as well as basil ice cream with a sweet basil mousse. Unfortunately the group I was with wasn't ready to splurge and I don't speak enough French to keep the train of desserts coming. We did also get some "marmalade" of strawberry and raspberry along with almonds coated in crispy strawberry. A couple of baby macaron in a to-go bag that lasted for about 10 minutes as I pondered the impending food coma I'm lingering in at the moment. Noisette cookies with some kind of praline center.
Two stars for this place. Only a couple of slightly-less-than-ideal marks-- some of the the rabbit I had was slightly over-salted. The vegetable tart was slightly under-salted, and they marked a couple of people properly for the courses they were getting but then proceeded to switch their plates, delivering the food to the wrong people. This only happened once but had the effect of making me notice the otherwise efficiently invisible service.
P.S. Pierre Herme is closing for a month on Monday but I'll be there tomorrow afternoon to stock up.